Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. It is a hard and brittle crystalline solid with a blue-grey metallic lustre, it conducts electricity well, and has a relatively high melting point.
In 2002, elemental silicon was chosen as the base material for an experiment to produce the most massive object yet achieved by mankind: The European silicon test masses created as part of the framework of the Gravity Probe B experiment conducted by Stanford University in collaboration with ESA (European Space Agency) produced two 11-kg 3.1 mm thick fused silica disks – the largest objects ever made of pure silicon.
How Many Valence Electrons Does Silicon Have?
Silicon has four valence electrons.
The chemical element with atomic number 14 has an atomic mass of 28.0855(2) amu, which means it has two electrons in its first shell, eight electrons in the second shell, and four electrons in the third shell. Silicon has four valence electrons.
To understand how many valence electrons does silicon have, you have to know that atoms are composed of protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons give an atom its atomic number by their positive charge while neutrons have no electrical charge at all so they don’t contribute to the atomic number of an atom. Electrons on the other hand are negatively charged particles that do give an atom its chemical properties since they determine how many shells (or energy levels) it will be able to have.
The outermost electron shell, also known as the valence shell, can hold a specific number of electrons depending on the atom. Atoms with less than 10 protons will have 1 valence electron in their outermost shell while atoms with more than 10 protons (from 11 to 29) will have 2 valence electrons in their outermost shell and so on. Silicon has 14 protons and is thus an element with 4 valence electrons because its outermost shell only needs 8 to be filled. Thus silicon has four valence electrons since it follows the octet rule (the shells that aren’t the first and second shells need 8 electrons to be full).